Subject: Single Review: Heaven 17 - Fascist Groove Thang

From: Al Crawford
Date: Thu, 18 Feb 1993 11:54:57 GMT

Heaven 17 (We Don't Need This) Fascist Groove Thang
Virgin VSCDT 1451 [UK]

Total Running Time: 26 min 48 sec

1. Fascist Groove Thang (Rapino Edit) (4.12)
2. Fascist Groove Thang (Democratic Edit) (4.32)
3. Fascist Groove Thang (Rapino Club Mix) (5.55)
4. Fascist Groove Thang (Democratic Rapino) (6.04)
5. Fascist Groove Thang (Democratic Instrumental) (5.58)

Every once in a while you hear a record that, from the very first time you hear it, you know is going to be a big hit. More rarely you encounter a song that you instantly know is going to be an all-time classic.

However, much more common is the situation where you hear a song and know from almost the very first note that it's a complete abortion, an aberration of unparalleled ideousness and that not only should the individuals responsible be hunted down and shot on sight, but all existing copies of the song should be recalled and buried in a landfill in the sort of containers more normally associated with particularly radioactive nuclear waste. This is such a song. If there's any justice in the world, Marsh, Ware and Gregory should all be struck down by lightning bolts (*big*lightning bolts) for allowing someone to do this to their song. Gregory should probably be struck twice, for collaborating. As for the Rapino Brothers, the perpetrators of this musical crime against humanity, something involving nasty sharp spikes and prolonged agony would probably be more appropriate for them.

The single is subtitled "The Rapino Brothers Remixes". A more accurate description, when you consider that there is absolutely *nothing* of the original song left with even the vocals re-recorded, would be "A Song Which Bears A Passing Resemblance To The Original But Which Is Otherwise Completely Different And Which Is Not Really Heaven 17, No Way, Nope."

Compared to this rancid piece of remixed refuse, last year's remixes of "Temptation" were unerringly faithful to the original. The Rapino Brothers have cunningly sidestepped the uncontemporary style of certain features of the original by throwing the parts that didn't fit away. Unfortunately for the listener, this means they've thrown everything away. Sure, Glenn Gregory has been retained, and the vocals aren't too different (apart from "Democrats are out of power across that great wide ocean/Reagan's president elect/Fascist god in motion" being replaced by "Democrats are back in power across that great wide ocean/Bush has proved you can't elect/Fascist god in motion") but there's absolutely *nothing* else of the original left. Gone are the tense, jerky rhythms and that wonderfully primitive electronic percussion, replaced by utterly cliched dance rhythms and sounds in five remixes almost all of which sound exactly the same (i.e. terrible). It's rather ironic that "Fascist Groove Thang" has itself succumbed to its own title, being locked in the rhythmic straitjacket and limited vision of today's popular dance music.

Words to adequately describe these remixes fail me. Ghastly beyond belief just doesn't convey the true horror of it. Last year's remix of Ultravox's "Vienna", which I hated with a vengeance, was a masterpiece compared to this. Although I'm tempted to take it back, since what claims to be a Heaven 17 single most certainly isn't by any reasonable definition, I'll hang onto it, to make future misbegotten dance remixes more bearable. "It's awful," I'll say, "but at least it's not as bad as those remixes of `Fascist Groove Thang'." It may also have other uses in future - "Get to your beds now kids, or I'll play that `Fascist Groove Thang' remix." comes to mind, and it'll be an ideal way to clear party guests who've overstayed their welcome.

I am *really* glad I brought the original in to work with me today, it's a real antidote. To summarize - avoid at all costs. Leave the country if necessary.

Erland Rating: -4